7 Differences Between A Clarinet And A Flute

Both a clarinet and a flute belong to the woodwind family of instruments, but they are very different from each other. What’s the difference between the flute and the clarinet? 

A flute is a horizontally blown woodwind instrument that generates music through air vibrations induced by air leaving and entering the flute. The clarinet, on the other hand, is a woodwind instrument with a blown-end that generates music by vibrating the air with a reed connected to the mouthpiece.

There are significant differences between a flute and a clarinet, from physical or visual differences to the pitch and range of each instrument. Continue reading to learn more.

7 Differences Between A Clarinet And A Flute

The following are some prominent differences between the flute and clarinet.

Size Difference 

Flutes are smaller than clarinets, which is evident from their size. An average clarinet is 26 inches (66 cm) in length. 

Sound Differences

The clarinet is one of the loudest woodwind instruments. Clarinets are transposing instruments, which means that the sound produced by the clarinet and the written music is identical. They have a smooth and mellow sound. Whereas a flute is a non-transposing instrument, it creates reedy, airy, and light sounds.

Presence Of Reed/s

The flute and clarinet are two types of instruments that differ principally in their reeds; the flute is a reedless instrument, while the clarinet has a single reed. The clarinet ranges from D3-Bb6, while the flute ranges from C4-C7. 

Blown From Different Sides

The clarinet is an end-blown woodwind device which means the player blows air via one end of the tool, with the air flowing straight through it. In contrast to clarinets, flutes (western concert) are side-blown, meaning they are held horizontally when played. 

Number Of Keys

The flute has a minimum of 16 keys that control the instrument’s pitch. To vary how high or how low the flute plays, the player presses different key combinations and varies their wind speed.

The clarinet consists of 24 keys. Furthermore, the clarinet is meant to be disassembled into numerous components, e.g., the mouthpiece, body pieces, and the instrument’s bell.

Different Weight

Clarinets are quite heavier, and flutes are lightweight. A clarinet weighs around 800 grams, whereas a solid-silver flute weighs around 440 grams, while a gold-plated flute weighs around 500 grams.

Made Of Different Materials

Traditionally, both instruments were made from wood. However, that has changed. Flutes are now often composed of silver-plated metal. However, they were initially constructed of wood. A wooden flute has a unique sound compared to a metal flute. The natural plant fibers in cellulose give it a “raspy” sound, similar to that of a recorder. A clarinet is made from wood and plastic.


Both the flute and the clarinet are used in a wide range of applications, ranging from orchestras, concerts, and jazz bands to compositions and theatrical performances. Both instruments are different. The main difference is that the flute is reedless, and the clarinet has one reed.

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